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Zero waste to landfill policy

Total waste to landfill in 2015: 36 grams

Updates

2015-06-10 Three months since the last update and I’m pleased to say it’s still at 36g. Plastic bags are recycled at our local Sainsburys. Glass, paper and plastic go inside council recycling bins. Organic coffee waste goes into the compost. For bike servicing we are reusing rags and nitrile gloves for now. There will be waste eventual waste from these but right now it remains at 36 grams total waste to landfill in 2015.

2015-03-09 We didn’t create any landfill waste in February 2015. For bike servicing we did use cloths that can be reused and we were extra careful not to contaminate brakes with oil. The gloves we used are given a wash and we will reuse (they eventually will become waste though). We do have a used bike tyre which can’t be recycled but looking into way to reuse or recycle.

We also found out at the weekend that Nottingham has an incinerator that helps power Nottingham homes and businesses. Although encouraging recycling is far better than incinerating it’s good to know that it’s not 100% traditional landfill.

2015-01-26 We realised we are not going to 100% zero waste to landfill when bike service time comes along. Nitrile Gloves and cloths weigh in at 36 grams.

Landfill

The reason we can’t use non-disposable cloths and reuse the gloves is because they are contaminated with oil which if reused could get onto brakes components which wouldn’t be good for stopping.

We do a service about once a month so will have to expect same amount of waste monthly.

Original 

From 1st January 2015, The Roasting House commitment is to have a zero waste to landfill policy aiming to send no waste to landfill at all. We are not sure if this can be done but we will try our very best.

We already strive to produce as little waste as possible and recycle or compost as much as we are able to. Our electricity supplier, Good Energy, uses 100% renewable energy and we cycle or walk our local deliveries. We make business decisions considering the impact on the environment. Coffee has a lot food miles in getting to us so we try to keep our foot print to a minimum and choose coffee from farms with sustainable practices.

Defining zero waste to landfill
According to Zero Waste International Alliance zero waste to landfill is defined as 90% or greater diversion but we are aiming for 100%. If we do have any waste to landfill then we are going to weigh it and report it openly. But even then, before it goes to landfill we will research ways it can be recycled, upcycled or reused.

Although we are confident our waste to landfill is already small we haven’t actively measured this part of our business. We are going to consider everything we use to run The Roasting House.

Changes to bags
Some changes are inevitable and the biggest ‘elephant in the room’ is our coffee bags. When we first started roasting we used handmade hessian bags that were fully compostable. However, time restraints showed this wasn’t sustainable for ourselves to continue making (especially when we needed emergency repairs to our sewing machine) and when we outsourced the making of bags to local crafters we had mixed results in quality and it wasn’t cost effective. We then moved to modern foil coffee bags. They are recyclable but not recycled by all local authorities including Nottingham, and although this is not waste we directly produce it something we are responsible for on behalf of our customers.

The obvious answer is paper bags. Paper is recyclable and paper bags are available made from recycled materials. What we lose in strength of bags we will hopefully gain in a smaller footprint on the Earth.

At time of writing we still have the old style foil bags in stock as well as our new paper bags so there will be a cross-over of using new and old.

Firm with our goals but flexible with our tactics
Being a small and growing business we are lucky that we can quickly change things around and put policies in place that don’t require a major shift in the way we work. We still think this will be a challenge because things we have neglected to think about will appear.

Sustainability is something we actively think about. However, we are privileged to enjoy the modern benefits of what the current carbon economy brings us while at the same time acknowledging that climate change is humanity’s greatest threat. On a purely business point of view, climate change is already driving up the prices of the commodity we sell and 2014 saw a disastrous coffee crop for the world’s largest coffee producer, Brazil which affects us and our customers.

We believe small local changes do make a difference and that we all are responsible to take action, this is ours.

We welcome suggestions and feedback (good or bad) on our twitter, facebook, or old fashioned email coffee@roasting.house.

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Organic Gems of Araku, India. Coffee Club 2014-12-06

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This week we’re back with a favourite and partly chosen so we can use a bean that suits a medium roast as it was pointed out to us that we’ve had a lot of darker roasts for Coffee Club recently and we want to offer a variety.

The organic Gems of Araku from India last came to Coffee Club back in July and sold out very quickly, so naturally we ordered some more in for our store.

Coffee had been grown in the region since the 1920s when colonial British Officers recognised the right altitude (average elevation of 911 metres (2,989 ft) and rich fertile soil would make it perfect for growing coffee, however the potential wasn’t fully nurtured.

This changed in 2001 when the Naandi Foundation (a non-government organisation) helped the Araku region gain the knowledge and tools to start growing sustainable organic coffee. Part of being sustainable meant developing a passionate and committed workforce, so men and women are paid an equal living wage.

From those turn of the century new-beginnings, they have created a wonderful coffee already which we will no doubt see more of in the speciality coffee auctions as they strive to get noticed in a tough market. It excites us that this excellent coffee will become even better.

Roasting & Tasting notes

We opted for City (medium) roast for today’s Coffee Club as this brings out the natural sweet flavour of the beans. It’s smooth as an espresso but works very well with all brewing types.

Flavours:

  • Low Acidity
  • Strong body
  • Very sweet
  • Smooth
  • Great aroma

Image of Araku Valley by flickrPrince via Flickr Creative Commons CC BY 2.0

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Moredocofe G2, Sidamo, Ethiopia. Coffee Club 2014-11-22

Article by The Roasting House for Coffee Club delivery 2014-11-22

Moredocofe farm drying beds

After reading what the experts regarded as the best growing regions for coffee we realised, to our shame considering it’s the origin of coffee, we have never actually had an Ethiopian coffee in stock. We were straight in touch with our suppliers to find out what there is on offer and after lots of research we came across a gem we have been itching to share with you since arrival.

From the Sidamo Province in Ethiopia which is famed for its varied high quality coffees, this Grade 2 rated coffee from Moredocofe (standing for More Direct Organic Coffee) is from a certified Organic and Rainforest Alliance (RFA) farm situated approximately 1800 metres above sea level which is quite high in world coffee terms. At higher altitudes the coffee cherry grows slower to give a denser bean which from a roaster’s point of view requires a slower and lower temperature roast to release the oils trapped within. At higher temperatures with high altitude grown beans you are in danger of just cooking the outside of the beans and not releasing the goodness within.

moredocofe site

On opening the bag from our supplier, the immediate aroma of lemon greeted us and typical in our experience of African beans they are a consistent size with a blue-grey-ish tint. Rated Grade 2 (G2 is premium and G1 is specialty) we found no defects in our bag but being G2 instead of G1 it allows us to bring you this top quality coffee without the “how much?!?!” exclamation a lot of the top rated coffee commands (although watch this space for The Roasting House bringing some G1, Cup of Excellence and 100% Jamaican Blue Mountain to Nottingham soon).  G3 is commodity grade as well as the bulk of the harvest and is what you will find in most cafes and other roasted coffee bags unless they are advising otherwise.

We also loved reading about how the taste is enhanced with the gold rich soil and their conservation of nature to receive their story RFA certification in 2007.  We think it’s going to prove one of our most popular coffees because it fits so many profiles in all brewing styles.

 “The coffee plant, Coffea arabica, originates in Ethiopia.[1] According to legend, the 9th-century goatherder Kaldi discovered the coffee plant after noticing the energizing effect the plant had on his flock, but the story did not appear in writing until 1671 and is probably apocryphal.[4]

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coffee_production_in_Ethiopia#History

Roasting & Tasting notes

For Coffee Club we opted for a city (medium) roast to let the taste of the beans lead and recommend going no darker than Viennese (dark roast). The beans tend to look a little darker than roast level because of the longer roasting process but keeping a close eye on the beans we started the cooling process after we see the 1st crack has fully developed but before 2nd crack has time to coat any of the beans in its inner oils.

In the cup it’s fruity with low acidity. Dark chocolate and hints of citrus. Very bright and smooth in the mouth making it very easy drinking.

This coffee is available to buy from The Roasting House. Use voucher code ‘NottsDelivery’ for free delivery in Nottingham. Please note only one voucher can be used per order.

Images by MTC Group used with permission via Creative Commons 2.0.

 

 

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Daterra Sweet Collection. Coffee Club 2014-11-08

brazil_daterra_penta_pack

This week’s coffee comes via request from one of the members who bagged a sample at #SecWed in October. Daterra, Sweet Collection and is the third appearance of a Daterra coffee in the coffee club.

Our last Daterra in September we said to expect more from them by us as we bought up what we could of this year’s harvest as Brazil are expecting a poor one in 2015. The Penta system they use to pack their green beans creates a vacuum seal which is only broken by the roaster keeping the beans harvest fresh for several years and some say they even improve with storage.

We have touched on how much information we can get on Daterra beans before where we have struggled with some other farms. They have many certifications on their coffee including Rainforest Alliance on all beans and have many checks throughout the whole process. For us, Daterra is the top standard in coffee quality – expect more via Coffee Club including those we already stock and some yet to come.

Roasting & Tasting Notes

Great for espresso. Complex and elegant with a sweet fruity aroma, pleasant acidity with citrus notes. Cups with vanilla and caramel notes finishing with a smooth-sweet body.

We have roasted these to espresso (very dark) and start the air cooling process just as the beans start to show signs of the internal oils appearing. This oil absorbs back into the bean to give a strong flavour and a traditional espresso taste complimenting well with sweet beans. To brew we recommend short coffee such as espresso or aeropress.

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Park Bikeworks, Derby review

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We had heard about Park Bikeworks a few weeks earlier from Twitter and were keen to try it out. Its free bike parking, showers, cafe, good food using local and seasonal ingredients, bike servicing, sports injury clinic, and cycling as a way of life all under one roof, sounded like our sort of place and the sort of place we had already imagined The Roasting House may turn into one day – a destination for bike and coffee lovers.

Only problem (for us) was the 50 mile round trip and the diminishing suitable daylight hours as we enter the autumn months but we were keen to make time.

We found time on a whim the first Sunday in November 2014; a cool day, light breeze and only a small chance of rain. Knowing that Route 6 services the outskirts of Nottingham and it would take us straight there we packed up some cowboy coffee in a flask (grinds and hot water – no filtering which tends to make a bitter brew but we used light Sumatra beans to counter) and headed towards the nearest blue and red Sustrans signs to follow them west. Google suggested 2 hours for the journey but with a few wrong turns, a leisurely pace, and a coffee break, this took us a little over two and half hours from NG5.

Following Route 6 you enter Derby passing a BMX and pump track that the local youth were putting to good use, going through more parks and across a couple of roads you find yourself in the city centre. It didn’t take long to find Park Bikeworks, a purpose built three storey building.

The lower ground floor is where you enter with your bike. We hadn’t registered but the helpful person behind the counter said when we come back just explain we are non-members and they will be able to locate our bikes. It’s free to register and you can do it from their website and makes things a whole lot easier for them so do this before you go.

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After leaving our bikes we headed upstairs to an open-floor café-cum-bike-shop. Hardwood flooring throughout and a well thought-out layout which let us glance at the fancy bikes but didn’t obscure or take over the café area. There was plenty of seating inside and out on the terrace.

Our immediate hunger was our first concern and with a choice of vegetarian options at a reasonable price we opted for the Fritatta & salad at £4.75 and Mushroom Burger at £6.50, for drinks we ordered Long Blacks (they call them Americanos). We decided to head for the terrace where the sun was shining and we could rest our legs.

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Naturally our drinks arrived first. The coffee had a good crema but the taste was disappointing. Quite bitter suggesting to us that the blend they use is quite heavy in robusta and they are using pre-ground coffee. We did not see which coffee and roaster they used and they don’t seem to advertise this either leading to conclusion it’s probably a generic buy-by-bulk-purchase type. We added sugar (something we never do) and while discussing that our cowboy coffee should be more bitter, our food arrived.

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The food was excellent and really hit the spot. Enough to fill up the hole a 25 mile cycle ride can make. Finishing off our food quicker that what would have been polite in anyone else’s company, we sat a while and admired the cycle hub.

On the terrace you can see all human life with bikes enter. From the fisherman who looked like he may have had more drinks than fish bites on his outing to the lycra-clad who are just stopping in for a quick look in the shop or to use the facilities. I can imagine on a weekday Park Bikeworks is be very busy with commuters coming into the centre. Not having to carry a couple of heavy locks with you makes travelling by bike and using Park Bikeworks a no-brainer for transport in Derby. Case-in-point was the previous Friday evening in Nottingham centre we wanted somewhere to go for coffee and cake but because we didn’t have locks with us our only options were those with outside seating and still open. We did find one eventually but if a Bikeworks existed in Nottingham chances are we would have already dropped off our bikes and chosen from many of the wonderful cafes Nottingham has to offer and we could have chosen somewhere warm to sit.

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The shop caters for every bike need. Mostly premium but quality brands and similar prices you would find in all bike shops. You may not find bargain of the century but you will find your preferred cycle area catered for with quality items.

After looking round the shop and putting all our will against the science of n+1, we decided to have a look around Derby City Centre. One affect of Bikeworks on Derby seems to be that there weren’t lots of bikes attached to street furniture. This helps remedy the false perception that some non-cyclists think a disproportionate amount of space is given to bikes. Likewise, people on bikes feel the frustration when cars are parked in facilities not designed for them when there is a perfectly good car park nearby and so pedestrians feel the same when bikes are in the way in places not designed for them.

Summary – build it and they shall come.

We came because they built it so that is proof enough. It’s brilliant in its execution of what bike advocates are crying out for: a destination for someone on a bike,  something we rarely see outside of London. It takes up fewer square metres than you may imagine and makes it one of the better cycling infrastructures in The North – which is either to say how good this hub is or how bad years of poor decisions on sustainable transport have been. But we want to focus on the now and we believe that if there were places like these every 10 miles the harshest opponents of bikes would soon be converts as it would free so much space on the roads for more essential motor vehicle journeys (one car takes up as much room as eight bikes in slow moving traffic).

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We spent five hours in the saddle just to have a look. We will be going again because the route is nice and the food is great. Showers on the top floor are a nice touch making it accessible even for the tidiest of business men and women to freshen up. You can even leave your belongings in a locker on the lower ground floor so there is no question of what to do with your stuff if carrying is undesirable.

We are disappointed in the coffee and we hope that considering the crossover between cyclists and coffee lovers seems to be high, this may be something they remedy in the near future. You may think we are overlooking this too much for a coffee blog, but we are also cyclists and coffee is easier to change than cycling infrastructure. We would be keen to hear from anyone who has milk based coffee drinks so we have a comparison. As drinkers of only black coffee, maybe our preferred tastes for sweeter beans does not compliment well with the larger latte and flat white market.

We did a back of the envelope business plan of what it would take to get one up and running in Nottingham and starting a co-operative consisting of entrepreneurs in coffee (us obviously), a bike shop, bike maintenance, deli/cafe, clothing, sports injury clinic and you have shared costs in one amazing space in which a large percentage of your customer base have as a destination. We would certainly be interested in anybody interested in joining us in such a venture one day.